One of the most beautiful aspects of the English language is the many different shades of meaning a single word can have. . One of the great pleasures of reading and writing is knowing when and how to employ the full gamut of word meanings.
Now and then, I sit down with my almost-6-year-old “A” and we play a little game. We take turns naming a word, and then “A” has to think of as many definitions for that word as he can before the timer runs out. It's a simple and silly game, but it's also unexpectedly educational – to both me as well as “A."
Take the word 'right.' There is a political meaning, as in 'to the right' or 'to be on the right side.' The word may also mean 'correct' or ‘appropriate’, as in 'I was right to do that.'
This week’s chapter is all about homonyms, words that have the same spelling or pronunciation but have more than one meaning.

1. Bark

Meaning 1: tough protective covering of the woody stems and roots of trees and other woody plants
Example: The bark of this tree is very rough.

Meaning 2: the sharp explosive cry of a dog, fox, or seal
Example: Dogs that bark a lot usually aren't dangerous.

2. Before

Meaning 1: during the period preceding a particular event or time
Example: Have we met before?

Meaning 2: in front of someone or something
Example: I couldn't see the blackboard because Arya was standing before me.

3. Either

Meaning 1: one or the other of two people or things
Example: Either come in or go out.

Meaning 2: used to indicate similarity or link with a statement just made
Example: I couldn't sleep either.

4. Current

Meaning 1: occurring in or belonging to the present time
Example: I can't keep up with the current fashion.

Meaning 2: : a flow of electricity through a conductor
Example:: The wire carried a high current

5. Pool

Meaning 1: an excavation that is (usually) filled with water
Example: She went for a dip in a pool.

Meaning 2: combine into a common fund
Example: The kids pooled their money to buy their parents a wedding anniversary gift.

6. Crane

Meaning 1: a large tall wading bird with a long neck, bill, and legs
Example: Cranes are big beautiful birds.

Meaning 2: a machine with a swinging arm for lifting and carrying heavyweights
Example: The crane collapsed during an operation to increase its height.

7. Bolt

Meaning 1: a lightning strike
Example: The sky was suddenly lit up by a bolt of lightning.

Meaning 2: a wood or metal bar or rod used to fasten a door
Example: The door was bolted shut and we couldn't get in.

8. Blue

Meaning 1: of the color intermediate between green and violet; having a color similar to that of a clear unclouded sky
Example: There's a nice blue sky today.

Meaning 2: (of a person or mood) melancholy, sad, or depressed
Example: She felt blue.

9. Charge

Meaning 1: a price asked for goods or services
Example: Don't forget to charge Rs. 5 extra for a paper bag.

Meaning 2: an accusation, typically one formally made against a prisoner brought to trial
Example: I won't press charges against you.

10. Bear

Meaning 1: have
Example: The tree wouldn't bear fruit.

Meaning 2: put up with something or somebody unpleasant
Example: I cannot bear this heat!

Do you have any other examples of such words? If so, comment below and let us know. If you enjoyed this article, do share it with others. Stay tuned for our next chapter on homophones.


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